Browns Make Baffling Series of Roster Moves on O-Line

The Browns left a lot of their fans confused with Monday's o-line roster moves.

The Cleveland Browns made a series of baffling roster moves regarding the offensive line on Monday.
The Cleveland Browns made a series of baffling roster moves regarding the offensive line on Monday. / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cleveland Browns are facing pressure to deliver results during the 2023 NFL season.

After all, the Browns finally get to experience a full campaign with Deshaun Watson under center. Considering how poorly the offensive line performed in 2022, it's clear that the frontline must be better if Watson is to produce results this fall.

Despite the importance of keeping Watson well-protected, the Browns opted to make a series of baffling roster moves on Monday that hurt the o-line more than they helped it.

The Athletic's Zac Jackson reports that the Browns have cut offensive linemen Michael Dunn and Wes Martin. On top of that, they also added OL Drew Forbes to the non-football injury list.

Browns Roster Moves

The biggest head-scratcher in this situation is Dunn's release. As Jackson mentioned, the 26-year-old was the Browns' last healthy backup guard ahead of the regular season after Dawson Deaton injured his knee back in July.

Dunn has spent the last three seasons in Cleveland, suiting up in 28 games (four starts). He was also one of the team's most reliable guards during this preseason, earning a 77.8 Pro Football Focus grade after giving up one sack while taking a penalty over 148 offensive snaps.

I have a hard time believing that the Browns are blind to Dunn's potential. They may be trying to make moves before attempting to him back to the roster, because Dunn will not be subject to waivers but rather immediately becomes a free agent. So the Browns may have some sort of pre-arranged deal to bring him back, otherwise this wouldn't make any sense.

Moving on from Dunn would be understandable if Cleveland had better guard depth, but that's even less of the case with Martin also getting cut. The former Indiana Hoosier went 152 preseason snaps without taking a penalty or allowing a sack, but that wasn't enough for the Browns coaching staff.

What makes it even more difficult to stomach Dunn and Martin's cuts is that Drew Forbes is still around.

The oft-injured offensive lineman has played only 13 games (zero starts) since being drafted 189th overall by the Browns in 2019, playing just 19 offensive snaps during that span. Even when he played a career-high 10 games last season, his 63.1 PFF grade indicates that there are better options out there.

The Browns can't expect to have season-long success when their backup guard situation is in its current state. Regardless of who Cleveland adds to the mix, it's hard to imagine any new signees being improvements over Dunn and Martin, begging the question of why the organization overcomplicated the situation in the first place.

The only positive path forward here is if the Browns bring Dunn back in the fold.

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